EXCLUSIVE: In the annals of pilot history, this will probably go down as one of the greatest oddities ever: director-producer Gary Fleder, executive producer of ABC’s Beauty And The Beast pilot, has come on board to direct the other Beauty And The Beast pilot at the CW. This adds an additional layer to the already strange coincidence of having two Beauty And The Beast projects with the same title picked up to pilot by 2 networks in the same season. Despite the identical title and origin — they can both be traced back to the classic fairytale and use loosely its mythology and archetypes — the two Beauty And The Beast projects are very different. The ABC/ABC Studios one, written by Jonathan E. Steinberg, is described as a fantasy realm adventure and a period reimagining of the fairy tale set in a mythical, dangerous world. The CW/CBS TV Studios version, written by Jennifer Levin & Sherri Cooper, is loosely based on the 1980s CBS series starring Linda Hamilton and is a modern-day romantic love story with a crime procedural element.
The ABC Beauty And The Beast was developed through Fleder’s ABC Studios-based Mojo Films and was never intended as a directing vehicle for him. Fleder only helms Mojo projects if they feel right for him as a director. He and his development executive Mary Beth Basile are executive producing the Beauty pilot and potential series with Steinberg.
On the CW’s Beauty And the Beast, in addition to directing, Fleder is attached as executive producer for the pilot only. The gig reunites him with the CW and CBS Studios where he directed the pilot and 4 more episodes of praised series Life Unexpected, which he also executive produced. It also reunites him with new CW president Mark Pedowitz with whom WME-repped Fleder worked at ABC.